Friday, 31 May 2019 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. On this day we recall the moment when Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, upon hearing how her elderly cousin had miraculously become pregnant with a child as told to her by the Archangel Gabriel.

In the occasion celebrated today, the essence of it is the joyful expectation of the coming of God’s salvation to His people, the fulfilment of His promise and the affirmation of His love for His people, after a long awaited period of expectation and waiting for the coming of the light of salvation to the world filled with suffering and darkness. The Lord revealed His salvation to all of His people not in glorious way, but through a humble woman coming to visit another elderly woman.

God fulfilled His promise in sending His Saviour, in the womb of this holy woman, a humble and unknown virgin from a small Galilean village of Nazareth, a most unlikely source of God’s salvation and work, and yet, that was the reality of what had happened. God came into this world not as a mighty conqueror or a triumphant King, but rather, as a humble Child borne by a humble and simple woman from humble and unknown origins.

Ultimately, in the end, this proves a very important point that God did not do His works by human might, power and means, but by His own power and mysterious ways. And that was exactly how God worked His wonders and salvation to all of us. He has done everything He wanted to do, so that all of us might be saved and receive from Him the assurance of eternal life and glory.

In our Gospel passage today, we listened to the words of Mary, in a song she sang when filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. This song is known today as the Magnificat, a great song of praise and glorification, a song of great thanksgiving and submission to God. Mary essentially summarised all that God had done for each and every one of us, showing us His love and His faithfulness, that He will not abandon us even when we are in great need.

God has always been faithful to us, and He gave us everything we need, and the greatest of His many gifts is none other than the gift of His own Son, Our Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour. And in the Visitation, it was symbolic of God coming into our midst, even when He was still in the womb of His mother Mary, and the response that St. John the Baptist, who was also in Elizabeth’s womb, should be the same response that we have as well.

St. John the Baptist, even as a baby, recognised his Lord and Master, and was so joyful, leaping with joy in his mother’s womb. This joy was the same joy that Mary felt and expressed in her song, in the great love and providence which God has given His people, in not leaving them behind in their fate and in the darkness of the world. The Lord Who loves and provides has become the source of all of our joy and happiness.

Unfortunately, in our world today, many of us cannot recognise God’s presence and His love for us. We tend to seek those who give us worldly joy and happiness, seeking comfort in money, power, human praise, glorification and pleasures of the flesh, that distract us from being able to recognise God being present in our midst and in our lives. Are we then able to resist these temptations of the false and temporary, worldly joys, and instead seek the true comfort of God?

Let us all be firm in our faith and in our hope, knowing that God is always watching over us and protecting us, providing us with all that we need. Let us all strive to be ever more committed and draw ever closer to the Lord, from now on, with a new commitment and courage. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 31 May 2019 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Friday, 31 May 2019 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid. YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Friday, 31 May 2019 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving Warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.

I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be ashamed.

Alternative reading

Romans 12 : 9-16b

Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep.

Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things.

Sunday, 23 December 2018 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 39-45

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

Saturday, 22 December 2018 : 3rd Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 46-56

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour! He has looked down upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name! From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden.”

“He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty. He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Friday, 21 December 2018 : 3rd Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 39-45

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”